Matt Connolly's Blog

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Tag Archives: storage

Building a low cost, low power, home server: research

So I’ve decided to go down the path of building a low-power, low-cost, home server. We’ve got several PCs in the house now, as well as an Xbox and a LG hard disk recorder, all of which are network accessible.

My criteria for building the machine, in order of importance, are:

  1. something more powerful than an off-the-shelf NAS so that its expandable and I can run a few web apps and things on it too.
  2. low-power: If I’m going to leave this thing turned on, I want minimum power usage.
  3. low-cost: I really don’t want to spend a lot of money on it.
  4. re-use of existing parts where possible: I have an old PC and several hard drives that I’d like to use.

I’m looking at deploying open solaris, mostly for ZFS.

My initial research shows that AMD make some nice 45W processors, like the Athlon II X2 235e. This seems to be a really good balance between power consumption and processing power, but still may be total overkill for my application. What I’d like to know is, what is it’s idle power consumption.

It’s become standard comparison in cars these days to show power as well as efficiency. In this day and age when we are becoming more aware of our energy usage, shouldn’t PCs have the same thing?

But I’ve also been reading about the newer Atom processors, such as the Atom 330 and D510 which have 8W and 13W power usage respectively, the latter including an onchip graphics controller – which would suit me fine.